That’s a kind of facetious headline, but stick with me for a second.
The Shia LaBeouf saga from last week rekindled America’s love affair with plagiarism, and the story kept unfolding well past the point that any of us expected it would. But let’s give Shia a break this week and focus on another Internet punching bag: M. Night Shyamalan. (Spoilers for The Village and Unbreakable to follow)
Artist and blogger, Mitch O’ Connell posted scans of two pages from 1965’s Action Comics #324, which features Superman visiting a civilization of people living in a secluded valley where time and technology stopped progressing past the late 1700’s (estimated). That should sound pretty similar to anyone familiar with Shyamalan’s 2004 film, The Village. In that film, a bunch of “crazy fucking white people*” retreat to a no-fly-zone, nature preserve in order to protect their children from an increasingly brutal society, all while pretending to live in 1897 America.
So how close do the comic and film intersect? Take a look:
This isn’t proof that Shyamalan read the comic as a kid and adapted the work as an adult, but it’s funny nonetheless. The specifics of the time period are close enough for this to feel like something more than simple coincidence, but I’m no 9/11 “truther,” so the extent to which I’ll look for connections between the two works beyond, “hey, those are similar” is minimal at best. Granted, one of Shyamalan’s best films is a “comic book movie,” not just because Bruce Willis plays a superhero in it, but because of the love its writer/director clearly shows for the medium (although his surrogate in the film turns out to be the bad guy, so who knows). Is it impossible to think that the director read this, internalized it and repurposed the premise years later? It’s not, but I also don’t see any lawsuits in anyone’s immediate future.
Finally, how great is it to see Superman cobbling shoes?
*Drew McWeeney’s infamous script review of what was then called, “The Woods” claimed that the film ended on the line, “crazy fucking white people” when an outsider learned about “The Village.”
I looked for the review, but the link appears to have gone dead. If you can find it, I highly recommend giving it a read. Thanks to Mario in the comments for finding the link!